April 20, 2006

DailyKos hit by startling revelation that not every human being on earth cares about a Democratic majority

I love kos, but I really don't understand how he's going around the country selling a book about politics when he apparently hasn't a damn clue what political groups actually are.

Okay, let little old me take a wild stab at why the Sierra Club endorsed (gasp) the Republican Lincoln Chafee instead of the Democratic challenger for Senate. I would guess that it might have something to do with Chafee's overwhelming support for environmental issues.

In the blurb kos links to, he says Chafee only had a 20% pro-environment rating in 2004. That means he only voted for one of five pro-environmental bills. In 2005, Chaffee voted for 16 out of 19. He's supported both pro-environment bills offered so far in 2006, which means you could say he has a 100% pro-environment rating for the year... of course, like kos's quoted statistic, that would be mind-numbingly deceptive.

The reason I'm pissed about rhetoric like this is because kos is being glaringly hypocritical. It's clear that the NRA prefers a Republican majority in the Senate, but that didn't seem to stop kos and many others from hyping Howard Dean's NRA support on a near-daily basis during the 2004 primaries.

I'm not saying vote for Chaffee. I certainly want a Democrat in that seat instead of him. But it's pathetic and stupid to bitch about a political organization devoted to one particular issue supporting a candidate that is most likely to support those issues just because that person is a Republican. That Democrats support the environment on an overall scale is irrelevant: the purpose of The Sierra club is not to get Democrats elected. That's the job of the Democratic Party.

No matter how many posts and books kos writes, the purpose of left-leaning political groups, just like right-leaning ones, is not to generically get partisan politicians elected. It's to elect politicians that support the goals of that group. The Sierra Club wants votes for environmental policy; their job is to support the politicans they feel will give them that. The Democratic Party's job is to present the case of their candidate to the Sierra Club.

But no, I'm sure calling them "moronic" will work just as well.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:37 PM

The smash comedy hit of the summer

Via Tom, I have encountered a very rare moment in observing right-wing vitriol- I think I'm actually starting to feel sorry for Ann Coulter.

Godless. That's right. Godless: The Church of Liberalism. And, in a rare moment of cleverness I'll award her publicist, she's releasing it on 6/6/06. Get it?

We've discussed the techniques of various pundits before. As I noted the other day, Malkin's is to play the victim of "unhinged" liberal attacks. Coulter's technique is to throw out a wild, massively ridiculous accusation against liberals, and then sit back and rake in the dollars while liberals do all the work writing blog post after blog post debunking an argument she honestly doesn't believe anyway.

And that's why it's really sad- because this one isn't even revolutionary, it's just desperate. Here's the description of the book from Human Events:

Ann ups the ante once again. In Godless: The Church of Liberalism, she shows how liberal hostility to traditional religion stems from the fact that liberalism is itself a religion -- a godless one. And, she reveals, thanks to the liberals who dominate our courts, our government bureaucracies, our schools, and our media, liberalism is now the established religion of our country. The doors to this church are thrown wide open and its sacraments, martyrs and clergy are exposed.

But, in Godless, Coulter goes one step further -- by daring to attack the one dogma against which the high priests of liberalism will brook no dissent: Darwinism. If you thought Muslims reacted badly to cartoons of Muhammed, wait till you see how liberals react to Coulter's treatment of their "prophet" Charles Darwin!

Charles Darwin.

Really.

Given the wild success Slander had in turning Joe McCarthy into a national hero, you can understand now why I feel sorry for her. This isn't "upping the ante;" this is desperation. To quote The Onion, this is Marilyn Manson going door-to-door to shock people.

I think I might actually want to buy this book. I am interested in it the way I like watching Alan Keyes talk: far from outraging liberals, I think this is going to have them rolling in the aisles, let alone the pews.

The entire success of Coulter's book relies on liberals being outraged at her statements and giving her more publicity. Are any liberals actually outraged at this? I don't see how they can be- it's too ridiculous. Saying we hate religion is one thing... calling Charles Darwin "our prophet?"

Falwell succeeds because he's actually a religious figure. If the right really thinks they can make Ann Coulter the face of the religious conservative movement... please, by all means, go for it. But honestly, the level to which this book makes Coulter a laughingstock on the policy level is enough to make even me feel sorry for her.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:25 AM

Grilli

I suppose this is the epitome of "gotcha"-ism, but anyone else find it curious how little digital ink was spared by the right-wing bloggers over the defeat of Italian Prime Minister (and WOT supporter) Silvio Burlusconi?

For those of you who only read the right-wing blogs, and therefore know absolutely nothing about the election- it was held about three weeks ago. Burlusconi accepted his narrow defeat to challenger Romano Prodi... this morning, after the Italian high court finally ruled that Burlusconi's month-long tantrum about an "illigitimate" election was total nonsense. Burlusconi, in the interim, called his challenger a fraud and a criminal and refused to concede, despite every court and the election commission implicitly indicating there was no way he won.

One would think that a group of pundits who, five years later, are still cracking jokes about Florida in 2000 and calling Al Gore a perpetual "sore loser" might have taken a cue to point out whatever the Italian term was "crying whiny bitch" was and apply it to Burlusconi. Monkeys, of course, could also have flown out my ass.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:56 AM

April 19, 2006

The Passion of the Malkin

In an outcome unseen by- perhaps- a handful of protozoae slowly developing consciousness on a distant astral satellite on the eastern arm of the galaxy's spiral, Michelle Malkin has turned her call to "hold accountable" some students she didn't like into a story about how poor little her is being persecuted.

What's most annoying about this is how I have little sympathy for this development. That Kos, Atrios, and all the other blogs don't already have posts that say "well of course that would happen, you morons" as a public service to their commentors is a statement to how dumb things like this are facilitated. Show of hands- did anyone here really not think that if Malkin started receiving angry e-mails from left-wingers she would make that the story?

Malkin is the right wing's reigning queen of Aggro- her very purpose is to attract left-wing vitriol so she can consequentially accuse liberals of being racist, irrational, and of course, unhinged™.

If you want to piss off Malkin, don't send her e-mails. Send the Students Against War against donation. Hell, send donations to them in her name.

But please stop facilitating a woman who's entire success is based on playing the brave little martyr for conservatism. The most common thought that goes through Malkin's head on a daily basis is "how do I get the third nail in?" History suggests offering to help with that does not cast you as the good guy.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:48 AM

April 18, 2006

So much crazy

With all the well-deserved talk today about how crazy Michelle Malkin is, we tend to neglect lesser-known, but equally-important outbursts of wingnuttery.

Case in point, Campus Progress' patron saint of right-wing crackpots, David Horowitz. If you've been following Horowitz (as we have), you'd know he's been on somewhat of a crusade to pass laws around the country that basically say conservatives are allowed to say whatever they want on college campuses, because they said so. Over 20 state legislatures have rejected these proposals.

Perhaps the reason is becasue of Horowitz's stellar rhetorical skills. For example, insanely berating someone who actually asks him to validate his views on "academic freedom:"

A crowd of Free Exchange students showed up to the event with t-shirts that said "David Horowitz: we can think for ourselves." Horowitz apparently believes otherwise - the solutions he's pushing are based on the premise that students are incapable of engaging with controversial ideas, thinking critically about them, and deciding what they believe in for themselves. His mis-named "Academic Bill of Rights" is an attempt to impose a new political correctness on America's classrooms, where students can cry "foul" every time they feel the slightest bit offended by anything any professor ever says or does. Horowitz claims he's campaigning for "traditional" academic standards - as if colleges and universities weren't traditionally dedicated to exploring controversial ideas and alternative viewpoints.

But I digress. If further proof of Horowitz's low regard for students' intelligence was needed, he provided it in spades. During the Q&A session, Horowitz "verbally assailed" students who questioned him: "You do not have the mental capacity to understand," he told one. "You are deaf and brain-dead," he told another.

Perhaps Horowitz's intolerance for students who do not unquestioningly accept his false conclusions accounts for the fact that there were about as many students at the first national conference of his student group, Students for Academic Freedom, as there were origninal members of the Mouseketeers.

Horowitz- the scent of crazy.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:18 AM

And I like to do drawings

You may have noticed the new link to a "portfolio" section on the left side there. I couldn't think of a better term for it, but basically it's where I'm going to put up occasional samples of other graphic and artwork I've done outside of XQUZYPHYR & Overboard. Hopefully I'll add more stuff to it from time to time.

I was kind of impressed with myself when I added the blog art section. It's really thrilling to think that three blogs, all of which are much more prominent than me, asked me to be a major part of the "face" of their writing. That probably sounds pretentious but whatever. When Skippy first put up the new logo to his site people actually asked in the comments "awesome, did August Pollak draw that?" That's probably one of the best feelings I've ever had in my life.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:35 AM

April 17, 2006

Latest comic - "Self-Martyr Magazine"

Oh Christ, they all say, he's making one of those points again. I really was ready to just move on with all the South Park and Mohammed cartoon stuff and all that, but you can thank right-wingers for spending half the week talking about this for changing my mind.

This week's installment is of course not a suggestion that censorship doesn't exist, nor a casual mockery of those in many nations who tragically fight for the right to freedom of speech. Rather, I defer once again to a famous line by David Cross, who opined "the terrorists talk about 'hating our freedom.' You Know what? I hate our freedom if this is all we're doing with it."

As I haven't mentioned it this week yet, I'll point out once again I've been drawing cartoons for over seven years. Only a small handful of places have run my cartoons, despite the countless publications and sites over the years I have submitted work to. I also worked on the staff of my college paper when I was at NYU, and have family in the newspaper business, so I have some basic understanding of how the editorial process works. And one of those concepts I used to think was understandable was that editors, on a unfathomably high frequency, choose just not to print something. For some reason, that's now considered by many to be censorship.

As the usage of the internet as a political medium increases, I am more and more frequently exposed to statements like "challenges the conventions of 'politically correct' thought." Apparently a decade ago this was a great line suggesting you were about to be blown away by some revolutionary idea. Most of the time these days it means "we're about to show you something really shitty."

A few months ago, hundreds died over a completely orchestrated outrage over some cartoons. For eons, writers and artists in China have been handcuffed by the ruling government. Women in many nations are killed for asking to learn to read. For this, several dozen bloggers spent last week bitching that a caricature of Mohammed didn't appear on an episode of a television program made by two rich white guys in Los Angeles. Please, speak to me at a later date about loving freedom.

Buy some crap.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:06 AM